Tuesday, July 29, 2008

We Almost Didn't Notice

Never let it be said we're not totally on the ball here at the S&BCC blog - well apart from yesterday when it wasn't until halfway through the opening round that we realised the British Championship had started.

In terms of S&BCC involvement Venkat, our London League top board, is playing and a the Ledger brothers are in Liverpool too. Stephen has been a club member for years but Dave and Andrew have also played for us in varying degrees of regularity. Since I'm talking of former S&BCC players I should mention Sue Lalic and stretching the concept of the S&BCC family still further I can see several names on the participants list that I recognise as blog commenters - Jack Rudd, Tryfon Gavriel and Michael Yeo for example (and apologies to anybody I've missed). The best of luck to them all.

The Championship website is showing the top boards live although due to 'technical problems' only a handful of games were broadcast. Hopefully there'll be the full 17 this afternoon.

T.C. EJH and I followed the games for a little while. Of the five on view it was probably Knott - Hebden that generated most discussion between us.



We, or at least EJH and I, thought Knott had winning chances but suddenly he played 51. Nd7+ and offered a draw. Hebden, not surprisingly, accepted.

EJH thought 51. Nf3 was worth a try. A little later Angus suggested White forced the draw since the knight has to stay on the kingside so there's no chance of queening any pawns anyway. Frankly, I've no real clue what's going on but my original feeling was that after Nf3 Black might be able to sac the bishop with 51. ... Ke6, 52. Nxh4 Kxd5. On reflection 53. Kd4 stops Black's king getting in so that doesn't seem to work.

So why not 51. Nf3 then? Isn't it worth playing on a little longer?


Championship Website:
http://www.britishchess08.com/

Live Games:
http://www.britishchess08.com/live.htm

16 comments:

ejh said...

We should also remember Nigel Davies, enthusiastic contributor to the comments box.

ejh said...

By the way, could anybody explain the pairing system to me? By my count, in the second round, there are fourteen players on 1 who are playing people on 0 or 1/2 rather than one another.

Jonathan B said...

Sounds like the King's Head controllers have got hold of it.

ejh said...

On the Knott game - the key line may be 51.Nf3 Bf2 52.Kd5 Bc5 53.Ne5 (threatening a fork) Kf5 54.Nd3 Bxd6 (I'll post on 54...Be3 later) 55.Kxd6 h4 56.Nf2 Kf4 57.Kc7 Kg3 58.Nh1+ (this is what White has to see, that he can sacrifice the knight) Kg2 59.Kxb6 Kxh1 60.Kxa5 h3 61.b6 h2 62.b7 Kg1 (not 62...Kg2??) 63.b8Q h1Q and my gut feeling is that White is winning here although my theoretical knowledge is shamefully lacking.

ejh said...

On 54...Be3 55.Kc6 Black can try:

(a) 55...Bg5 after which simply 56.Kxb6 wins: the knight is well placed to stop the h-pawn and the two advanced White pawns are too much for the bishop.

(b) 55...h4 56.d7 forces 56...Bg5 which is nearly the same but in fact will probably tranpose into line (c) below;

(c) 55...Ke4 56.d7 again forces 56...Bg5 and we're in the winning line again although it's slightly harder because White has used a tempo pushing the d-pawn which was not compulsory in other lines. So 57.Kxb6 Kxd3 and now Rybka tells me that 58.Ka7 is the most efficient as after 58...h4 59.b6 h3 60.b7 h2 61.b8Q h1Q 62.Qb5+! wins the bishop and it's hard to see how Black stops the d-pawn.

The natural 58.Kc7 may not be so good: 58...h4 59.b6 h3 60.b7 h2 61.b8Q and now not 61...h1Q? 62.Qb5+ winning the bishop as per the above line but 61...Bf4+! 62.Kb6! Bxb8 63.d8Q+ and you can have fun working out how White wins with queen against black-squared bishop and h2 pawn. Can it be done?

ejh said...

(I just looked it up in Fine and he says yes, Q v piece and pawns is a simple win. And indeed you an just put the queen on the d5 square, approach the Black king with the White one and then force him to the edge of the board for mate.)

Jonathan B said...

Andrew Ledger on one of the show boards today. (click on the link in the main article).

You can also see the aforementioned N. Davies (GM) taking on Wimbledon's Yang Fan(?) Zhou.

Glenn Wilson said...

ejh,
I checked the first line you give above with the comment "my gut feeling is that White is winning here although my theoretical knowledge is shamefully lacking" using Nalimov tables. This is a very difficult ending but a draw in theory. I would be happy to be White here.

BTW, you can check with Nalimov tables online at http://www.k4it.de/index.php?topic=egtb&lang=en

ejh said...

Mike Surtees' game is live - he's one of the great eccentrics of British chess. I once drew with him - having miscounted the pieces in time trouble and failed to realise I was a piece up.....

ejh said...

Glenn - thanks for that. How extraordinary. If I've correctly identified best play (which I wouldn't bank on, not by any manner of means) then Knott wasn't winning after all. I do hope that ending gets looked at by people who know what they are doing, I'd love to know.

ejh said...

I wish I'd known about those tables before reaching the ending of this game, I'd have saved myself hours working out which rook-and-pawn endings won and which did not. Though it presumably did me a certain amount of good working it out for myself*.

[* sort of - obviously this mostly means "checking it with Levenfish and Smyslov"]

Anonymous said...

Poor old Michael Yeo won't be too happy with his blunder (tiredness, I imagine) against Mark Lyell in Round 1.

Typical of Mark though, he plays on 'til the bare kings...

Ali Ocken

ejh said...

Ooh, nasty.

ejh said...

Richard Pert having a bit of a nightmare, no?

Michael J. Yeo said...

Anonymous said...

Poor old Michael Yeo won't be too happy with his blunder (tiredness, I imagine) against Mark Lyell in Round 1.


Yes, he is poor and old and he was very tired (and very late for dinner). No excuse though.

I expect you will also enjoy my 17 move loss to Susan Lalic in Round 2 when I certainly wasn't tired.

ejh said...

Heh, I was already looking for it, but the games aren't loaded yet.